Make a Perfect Match

Many roads may lead to your ideal kitten. Here's where to start.

By Theresa Meyers

Page 4 of 5

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To date, this innovative partnership approach has resulted in more than 1.4 million pet adoptions.

Word of Mouth
There are plenty of places to find kittens by word of mouth. Veterinary offices often have a community bulletin board where people with kittens can put an ad or leave a phone number. You can also find ads for kittens in the local newspaper and talk to friends. Many will know of someone whose cat has recently had kittens and is scouting out good homes.

In most cases, these kittens are free or very low-cost, but you may have to spay or neuter them and obtain their first shots to give them a healthy start. When picking out a kitten from a word-of-mouth source, ask if you can return the kitten if your veterinarian finds something wrong with its health.

Ferals and Strays
Some of us are unquestionably drawn to the strays and feral kittens left to fend for themselves. If you decide to take in a stray kitten, take it to a veterinarian right away, especially if you have other cats in your home. Feral kittens may have a higher incidence of disease because their parents or other cats they come in contact with may never have been vaccinated, said Tom Greek, MS, DVM, a veterinarian at Eastlake Animal Hospital in Yorba Linda, Calif.

Many stray kittens can become warm pets with some regular food and lots of affection.

Health Matters
No matter where you decide to search for your kitten, be cautious and closely examine the kitten to make sure its healthy, Greek said. Picking a healthy animal means really looking at it. Make sure your kitten doesn't have a runny nose or eyes, isn't heavily infested with fleas and has a good body condition. Generally, it should be active and look happy. Greek also suggests that you look at the kittens and cats around the one you are considering. If your kitten is living with any cats that appear sick at the time, you may want to think twice. Disease may not show up for weeks down the road, he said.

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